If you’re over the age of 5, and maybe even younger than that, chances are you know somebody obsessed with Pokémon Go. In fact, you probably know quite a few people obsessed with the app that is sweeping the entire world right now, and more likely than not, you’re even one of them. Early statistics are already calling it the most downloaded app in history, and people are using it twice as much as the second most used app around today: Facebook. Even if you aren’t playing the game, and somehow don’t know anybody who is, you’re still getting affected by some of the ramifications the most downloaded app in history is causing around the world.
The game is receiving middling reviews, and lots of people are complaining about the connectivity issues that seem to pop up every couple minutes, but absolutely everybody is playing it. The thing players love is how interactive the game is, truly making Pokémon come to life in the real world as players simply walk down the street. Developers must have known the idea would be popular, especially with the already famous Pokémon brand spearheading the idea, but this level of success is wholly unprecedented, and the world is being changed in a number of strange, surprising, and sometimes frightening new ways all thanks to the introduction of pocket monsters to our phones. Keep reading and learn the confusing manners in which a simple game for a mobile device can alter history with our list of the 15 ways Pokémon Go is already changing the world.
15 People Are Buying Better Phone Equipment
One thing that everyone who plays Pokémon Go can tell you is that the game is absolute hell on the battery of virtually every type of cell phone out there. As a result, there’s a serious shelf life to how much time can be spent playing this game, and since the whole point is exploration and wandering around the real world, players can’t always take the time to stop and recharge, even on the literal sense that it’s required for them to keep playing. As a result of this, people are buying new superchargers and extra strength batteries for their phones in order to keep playing the game.
Major market retailers like Best Buy and Staples were reported around the country to be out of external chargers as early as the date the game was launched, with employees surmising that most of the costumers came purchasing said equipment to play Pokémon. Even online, where consumers can buy whatever they want at the click of their fingertips, stores like Amazon were sold out of most superchargers and any sort of portable charging devices. Again, the only conclusion one can draw is that millions of Pokémon players all had the same idea and bought as many accouterments to their game as possible as soon as they could.
14 People Are Quitting Their Jobs
If you’re one of the few people who haven’t gotten wrapped up into the latest craze, chances are it seems absolutely insane to you that this many people are all playing a game on their phones. Pokémon are cool and everything, you might think to yourself, but is this really something worth devoting all of your time to? Well, according to some people, it's such a noble cause that it’s worth giving up their lives in order to catch them all. While we can’t really judge anyone who takes an extra break or two in order to catch that rare Ghastly that just wandered into their office, even some of the biggest fans of the game are shaking their heads at the few people who are actually quitting their jobs to play Pokémon.
Or maybe not, actually, since more than a few people seem to be loudly supporting the folks who quit their jobs in pursuit of the mystical birds, or fingers crossed, maybe even a Mew or Two. Luckily, not that many people are being reported to have done this, but enough stories have already gone viral that it might actually be a sub-trend for this already massive fad. Hopefully these people catch all the Pokémon in the world before they run out of the resources to survive, because given this level of fanaticism, we’re not sure starvation would even stop them.
13 People's Houses Are Getting Swarmed
If you haven’t played the game yet, it’s important for several of these entries that you understand what both a Pokéstop and Pokémon Gym are. A Pokéstop is a real world location where players can easily access a few helpful items that allow them to progress in the game. Likewise, a Pokémon Gym is also a real world location where players can interact with each other and do battle, in turn getting the Pokémon they’ve already caught stronger. While the app tried to make these public locations that already have a reasonable amount of foot traffic, like malls, restaurants, and churches, sometimes they made mistakes and there were supremely annoying consequences for some private citizens.
The idea behind Pokéstops was that these places wouldn’t mind if lots of people showed up to play a game, but nobody wants a bunch of strangers outside of their houses regardless of what those strangers are doing. This is what happened to a family in Massachusetts, who live in a house that used to be a church. While no one has done any damage we’re aware of, obviously the residents of the house are a little nonplussed about the dozens of cars constantly parked across the street from them while people get as close to their house as possible without trespassing in order to trade and fight their Pokémon.
12 Local Businesses Are Flourishing
The flipside of random people not wanting millions of gamers hanging outside their houses is that local businesses absolutely love the attention it’s getting them. Depending on where you live, there might be dozens of Pokéstops around you or just one, but chances are you’ve seen somebody place a lure on them, and if you actually go there in person, you’ll probably even find the person playing the game for hours at a time. And that goes double if there’s something for sale to keep them at the location, like coffee or snack foods.
Even the places that aren’t Pokéstops get to benefit from people wandering around town and looking for places that are. If someone is playing Pokémon Go to begin with and they see a shop window with a Pikachu in it, they’ll see the connection and they might step inside. This can be beneficial to any business in the world right now, and almost all of them are scrambling to find a way to cash in. Business owners are remarking how they’ve never seen this level of foot traffic before in their areas, which is remarkable to think about when you remember we’re talking about a video game that has nothing to do with local business.
11 Literally Everyone Is Talking About It
It’s rare society finds something that absolutely every person from each walk of life can find some common ground on, and have fun conversations about. That’s pretty much what the point of a fad is, but Pokémon Go is the next level of a fad, where it seems like literally every single person in the world has made some comment about the game. This includes celebrities, athletes, and even fictional characters, and chances are that’s only going to increase as the game keeps sweeping the world and the next season of television begins in late 2016.
Outside of your entire friends list, a few of the celebrities to mention the game on social media include Stephen Colbert, Bryan Cranston, Wiz Khalifa, Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, and John Mayer. Multiple wrestlers in WWE have mentioned the game both during events and on social media, including company owner Vince McMahon himself. Even Homer Simpson has been spotted playing the game in a special clip The Simpsons staff created in response to the incredible success of the fad. While Pokémon Go isn’t exactly the first thing to cause this kind of widespread devotion, few fads have come near this level of fame. Of course, it’s also worth noting no fad has ever been quite this interactive before, so perhaps it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.
10 Walking Is More Fun
The reason Pokémon Go is so omnipresent is the fact players never need to stop playing, and the world within the game only gets larger as you walk around the real world outside you. Because of this, walking has become significantly more fun than it ever has been, if only because there’s a new goal attached to going outside. It only gets more fun when you think about what that goal is—playing a game where you find new and adorable monsters with ridiculous superpowers you can make stronger by playing more and more. And, all of your friends are playing it, so you want to walk around and make sure you’re good enough to play with them.
We’re not trying to say that walking is some huge drag in general, or get down on the idea of going outside. Plenty of people like a nature hike, and exploring can be, well, an adventure. Not everyone wants to go on that adventure, though, or at least they didn’t before. Now that they could find a Spearrow or some reason Magmar by doing so, though, they can’t get enough of wayfaring. It’s important they pay attention to the real world, though, as a few people have learned first hand…
9 Accidents Are Happening
Once you download Pokémon Go, before you even play the game, you’re greeted to a screen featuring the avatar you’re about to play as walking off a bridge, presumably about to be killed and eaten by a big scary dragon (yes, we know it’s called a Gyrados). The game developers no doubt included this on the knowledge that cell phone related accidents have always been a thing, but they couldn’t have expected just how many accidents the game they were creating was about to cause. The total number of car accidents caused by Pokémon Go has yet to be seen, but quite a few have propped up already. That’s both accidents caused by pedestrians playing the game and not paying attention, and accidents caused by drivers averting their eyes from the road on the hope they might achieve a rare catch.
It’s not just car related problems, either, as Pokémon players are being unsafe across the board. You might think putting the phone away when you start driving and crossing the street is enough, but people have been falling off high cliffs and getting caught trespassing in some pretty dangerous places because their faces were glued to their phones. Chances are this is only going to get worse before it gets better, but local police are already on high alert all across the United States that Pokémon are making the world a dangerous place.
8 People Are Learning About Statues, Artwork, Etc.
While most Pokéstops are local businesses and churches, and the Pokémon Gyms are malls and actual gyms, depending on where you live, almost anything can be a Pokéstop. In major cities, statues, artwork, and even what at first looked like street graffiti could be a fun new place for you to grab a few extra Pokéballs—and maybe you’ll take in the artwork and learn about your town on the way. The game is still new, and there are plenty of advancements to be made, but some Pokéstops already come with a little bit of background information about the location. For artwork, this can include the artist, when they made the piece, and even some notes about what inspired them to create it.
Although not every Pokéstop comes with a brochure, they do all come with a picture, and even a blown up picture of what you at first thought was just a drawing on the side of a restaurant can allow a gamer to see these creations in new light. Now that the culture landmark gives them some toys to help them out at their favorite game, they might appreciate the art on an entirely new level—and they didn’t even know there was art there two weeks ago before the game was made.
7 People Are Making Serious Money
While it’s clear millions of people are downloading Pokémon Go at previously unseen rates, it’s harder to quantify exactly how much money is being made for a variety of reasons. First, the app is free to download and play, which means that in and of itself, the game doesn’t cost any money. However, there are plenty of bonuses that people can pay for, not to mention the incredible amount of money getting spent on Pokémon related products and merchandising, which could be making Pokémon Go one of the most profitable creations of all time, albeit in a slightly roundabout way.
In mere days after the game was launched, Nintendo’s market share rose 25% and added $9 billion to their market cap. These numbers have only increased astronomically in the ensuing two weeks, and the numbers are going up so fast it’s almost impossible to report them accurately at this point in time. The short of it is obvious, though, that’s to say people are making ridiculous amounts of money. And that’s just between players and the company—from player to player, money is being made however crafty gamers can contrive. People can sell high-level trades, good items, or even powerful accounts for outrageous sums of money, and this trend probably won’t stop as the game becomes more successful and newcomers want to join in on a higher level.
6 There's A New Generation of Pokémon Fans
Pokémon was created in 1995, and Pokémon Go was created in 2016. 21 years is a long time for a franchise to wait until it creates what might turn into its most popular title yet, but success is hardly a new thing to the Pokémon franchise. Even when it started out as a simple card game, that card game took over the universe when it was released, as did the cartoons, video games, and endless other memorabilia that followed as the years went on. Each generation of Pokémon fans hear people detracting the game and it’s characters as a mere fad, but Pokémon Go has proven yet again this is one fad that is standing the test of generation after generation.
Pokémon is already the second most popular video game franchise in the world through their Nintendo games on various Game Boy systems, and the release of Pokémon Go is probably going to bring it into the first place position before long. Thanks to the app, insiders are already projecting the next batch of games, titled Sun and Moon and getting their release in November 2016, could easily be the most popular yet. Adults and children alike are playing this game in droves, and it could even end up being an interest that even gets passed down through families as the years go on.
5 Places Without The Game Are Demanding It
Pokémon Go has somehow already become a global smash in spite of the fact it hasn’t even been released everyone around the world yet. Nintendo started the release in a few major markets, including the United States, and major countries throughout Europe were added over the next few weeks. Early tests of the game have been attempted in Asia, but server problems keep bogging progress down, and Nintendo is scrambling and begging users for patience as they try and figure out how to share this game with that many billions of new users.
This hasn’t stopped those new users from trying their best to play, though. Despite the fact Pokémon Go doesn’t even exist in certain countries yet, citizens of those countries are searching all over their homelands for remote areas that might get some small signal and allow them to play. Even areas like South Korea, where the government places restrictions on GPS mapping, which is required to play the game, has fans traveling to remote villages that somehow circumvent the law in order to catch as many Pokémon as they can before police find some way to stop them. Given the number of people making these types of Pokémon pilgrimages, it’s possible the game might even change the law.
4 People Are Talking To Strangers
While some of these changes seem huge on the day-to-day, here’s a simple entry that actually could end up changing some people’s lives. Millions of people around the world play video games, and there have even been countless stories of people making friendships or even more through a shared love of gaming. However, no game has ever been as mobile or as global as Pokémon Go is, and as a result, it’s more than likely the app has already brought more people together and caused more friendships than any other video game in history.
The fact Pokémon Go requires users to interact is only helping this increase of random friendships developing around the world. If you’ve played the game, you know how easy it is to spot one of your own kind. Everybody on Earth these days is glued to their phone, but if someone is flicking their screen in an upward motion and repeatedly either swearing or celebrating a great catch, we can be pretty sure they’re playing Pokémon. And that’s the point when a conversation becomes really easy, especially if you’re in a designated Pokémon Gym and you don’t want to play alone. The great thing about Pokémon Go is that you almost never have to.
3 People Are Going Outside And Exploring
We already mentioned that walking is more fun, but on a more general level, people are simply going outside more. In today’s disconnected society, the fact something was invented that almost everybody enjoys and actually gets people going outside is pretty incredible. Even if you haven’t played any Pokémon game before, you probably know the catchphrase is that you gotta catch ‘em all. While it would be simple enough for the game to have the world so incredibly overpopulated by Pokémon that almost every Pokémon was everywhere, every gamer knows that’s not what they did at all, and you need to actually get on your feet and move in order to find some of these critters.
We’ve already covered the inherent dangers in this with the accidents caused by people who won’t look up from their phones, and the confusing things like people quitting their jobs to hunt Zubats, but there’s a great deal of positives to be found through a gamer’s exploration, as well. The world is a big place with beautiful sights that most people playing video games don’t get to see, at least not while playing those video games. We don’t mean to be down on the concept in the slightest, but it’s hard to argue that it’s a good thing for society that people with the sometimes private and insular interest that is gaming are now getting so public with their pastime.
2 People Are Exercising More
More impressive than just getting people outside and talking to one another is the fact that Pokémon Go is a video game that has gotten people exercising. While certain games have been created in the past where getting the user to workout was the point, exercise is a completely secondary part of Pokémon Go that absolutely every user is finding themselves digging into hardcore, thanks to the unexpected perk it provides in the game. Now, we don’t mean just any old exercise, but one wheelhouse in particular: jogging, running, biking, or even just long-distance speed walking. These might be some of the lighter forms of exercise, but done with enough frequency, it’s more than enough to get people in tiptop shape.
Pokémon Go players are suddenly becoming fitness freak level wayfarers thanks to the game’s implication of eggs. While the main watch to catch them all is literally just that—catching them—as we already mentioned, lots of these Pokémon are rare and hard to find in the real world without devoting some serious time into the endeavor. Eggs, on the other hand, hatch after you’ve walked a short distance, and often result in a Pokémon you would never find in your area. They can only hatch by walking or running, as the game catches on if you’re going too fast, i.e. driving a car. Most eggs only require a few kilometers of travel, but some can require as many as 10, which can quickly turn into 20 when a player decides they’ll hatch a few more eggs on the way back after going for that jog.
1 Pokémon Are As Real As Possible
Since Pokémon were invented in 1995, the one thing every fan dreamed about was a day when these delightful little creatures could be real. When the cartoon was created and Ash Ketchum’s relationship with Pikachu looked more enviable than most TV characters were able to get out of their actual pets, this feeling increased exponentially, and every time a cute new Pokémon is introduced, more and more fans wish they could call it theirs. Of course, this will never happen, and it doesn’t even make sense for people to wish it could, considering all these monsters do is fight. However, thanks to technology, not only are we as close as possible to making Pokémon a reality, but it’s almost entirely safe that we’ve done so…well, as long as you remember to look up from the screen once in a while.
Pokémon Go is continuing to change the world in a multitude of ways, but the biggest has got to be the fact millions of lifelong Pokéfans had their dreams come true on July 6, 2016. They’re all carrying as many as 100 Pokéballs in their pockets at all time, and at any given moment, the situation might get intense when a rare Onyx pops up on screen. People are living the lives that made them want to be a member of Team Rocket over twenty years ago, and the way things look, more people will join them still before anyone calls them crazy.
Sources: App Institute, QZ, BBC, Gamasutra, The Guardian, Gamespot
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